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Five Florida Dispensaries Awarded Licenses

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State Office of Compassionate Use Awards Licenses to Five Florida Dispensaries

Yesterday, the Florida Department of Health awarded five regional Florida dispensaries licenses to provide patients with serious epilepsy, muscle spasms, and advanced cancer low-THC medical marijuana. As noted in previous articles here, the state ran into significant delays awarding these licenses because of  lawsuits and other protests.

Names of Five Florida Dispensaries

The five approved Florida dispensaries are:

  • Northwest Region — Hackney Nursery Company
  • Northeast Region — Chestnut Hill Tree Farm, LLC
  • Central Region — Knox Nursery, Inc.
  • Southwest Region — Alpha Foliage, Inc.
  • Southeast Region — Costa Nursery Farms, LLC

The 2014 Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act

The five dispensaries were allowed under the 2014 Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act (for a text of the law and related materials click here and here). This law allows for the sale of low-THC marijuana by these five regional Florida dispensaries.  To qualify to receive low-THC-marijuana, patients must obtain permission from a qualified doctor and be added to the Compassionate Use Registry under the law as described here.

Under the 2014 law, nursery applicants had to have been in business in Florida for at least 30 years and grow a minimum of 400,000 plants at the time they applied.  Each of the five regional Florida dispensaries was chosen from a pool of 28 applicants, based on rules set by a panel that included five growers.

Additional Lawsuits Are Expected

Because most of the winning Florida dispensaries also helped write the rules by which the winning applicants were selected, many losing applicants  filed lawsuits complaining that the state or the application process was biased in favor of the winners. As noted in earlier an article here, continued and ongoing lawsuits were expected because the licenses granted to the five regional Florida dispensaries are thought to be so valuable, with a projected value in the millions of dollars.

Five Florida Dispensaries Now Have To Post Bonds And Start Growing (Unless Stopped By Lawsuits)

Each of the growers now will have 10 business days to post a $5 million performance bond to obtain the license. If any of the applicants misses that deadline, the dispensary with the next highest score in that region will automatically be awarded a license. The Department of Health’s public website containing information about the winning five dispensaries and the entire application process can be found here.

The dispensaries also have 75 days to request cultivation authority and must begin growing low-THC cannabis marijuana within 210 days – or by June of next year. It is our understanding that all 5 Florida dispensaries have sought cultivation to grow legal low-THC marijuana here and that the first sales are expected to begin in the Fall of 2016. This means that Florida citizens with a qualifying medical condition would be able to legally buy low-THC marijuana if their doctor agrees that such a prescription would be medically-appropriate and satisfy the other conditions of the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act.

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